My Birthing Story

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It’s been 3 weeks since I gave birth and I’m starting to feel normal again. I’m finally ready to share my birth story.

This story and the pictures that follow are very personal to me. I decided to share them so they can hopefully empower other women preparing to give birth.

All photos were taken by my amazing, dear friend, Lehua.

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My due date came and went with nothing to remember it by. I already knew I shouldn’t expect my baby to come on my due date—after all, only 5% of women actually deliver on their due date.

After my due date passed I tried all sorts of methods to help speed up labor. I certainly didn’t want to be pregnant forever and my midwifery has a policy that requires me to birth at a hospital if I go past 2 weeks. In addition, I wasn’t looking to get induced at a hospital through unnatural procedures because they often lead to a whole bunch of additional interventions. I went on long walks, made love (yup…supposedly it helps!), and ate spicy foods. When the 7th day past my due date arrived, I decided to go get acupuncture. I had never gotten real acupuncture before and read online that some women found it helped induce labor. I just found a place on yelp, Evergreen Health & Herbs¬†and decided to try it out. I have to admit the procedure was pretty uncomfortable—they stuck these needles in a few areas on my feet, hands, and belly. Then I had to lay there for 30 minutes and try to relax. I paid $60 and left wondering if the procedure really did anything. They mentioned I should walk a lot—at least 30 minutes in the morning, and then 30 minutes at night.

I went home that day and was working at my computer. I felt my stomach tighten for a few seconds…several times. Little did I know, they were Braxton Hicks contractions. The next day was Friday. It was raining, so what better place to go for a long walk than Target? I spent about 1.5 hours at Target and kept feeling contractions every 20 minutes or so. They weren’t strong or close together so I knew I shouldn’t worry. That evening, I went to dinner at my moms house and came back feeling really tired.

Midnight:::I start feeling contractions but am still unsure if they are real birthing contractions. They happen to come every 2 minutes or so. I decide to call my midwife. She asks when I last slept, ate, and a few other questions. I hadn’t slept since the morning and I was certainly feeling tired. She suggested I take a Benadryl, have a 30 minute warm bath, and try to sleep for the night so I can build up some energy. I follow the midwife’s instructions and try to sleep.

1am:::My doula, Socorro, arrives. She decided to come early in case I go into real labor sooner than expected. She rests in our guest room.

2am:::I am awakened by birthing contractions. This time they are stronger. They occur every 2 minutes or so. I get into the zone and turn on my hypnobabies tracks. I breathe through my contractions and focus on envisioning my woman area opening up. Albert calls the midwife.

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My doula, a trained massage therapist, massages me as I begin to feel pressure on my lower back.

2:40am::: Andy, the midwife on call from South Coast Midwifery arrives. She asks to check how dilated I am. In my birthing plan I had wanted to limit cervical checks. This is because every time you do a cervical check you increase the chance for infection. I also read that although dilation tells you how wide you’ve opened up, it doesn’t tell you how quickly labor will go. At that moment I decide to let her check me. I was 9cm dilated….which means I’m open enough to push. It was a moment of relief for me—so many months of waiting for my little guy to come and the gates were finally opening. ūüôā

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My water hadn’t broken and I was getting closer to pushing so my midwife lets me get into my tub. Here I am breathing through my contractions, trying to have a loose jaw, and focusing on releasing tension.

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My sweet husband pouring warm water on my lower back to help relieve tension.

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My husband was my side all the way.

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Focused entirely on releasing tension, breathing, and envisioning the baby coming out safely. All in accordance to what I practiced with Hypnobabies. I don’t feel any pain. Simply pressure.

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Riding the birthing waves together.

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Completely lost in my own mind.

5am::: We thought we had this. I was in the tub and having pushing contractions. I was fully dilated.

Then, my midwife says, you need to get out of the tub. She checks me and says the baby has turned into a posterior position, which is not favorable for a smooth delivery. She says I need to try to stop pushing through my contractions, get into some different positions and we need to try to have the baby turn so he’s anterior, or facing towards my spine. Not pushing feels impossible at this point. She has me get into an inverted position to help encourage the baby to turn. I begin to wonder when and how the baby will come. I cast all doubts away as quickly as they come and go back to my hypnobabies training—I work through my affirmations and continue to envision my “safe place with the baby.”

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The contractions are powerful, but they are not greater than I am. Just a few of a hundred things I learned while reading teachings from the world famous midwife, Ina May.

7am::: At this point I’m having a difficult time. I can’t stop pushing through my contractions. I’m trying to fight the urge to push but it feels impossible. ¬†Thankfully, the second midwife on call comes to take her shift. With her, comes a new energy that helps me re-focus. She consults the head midwife and suggests I get a shot to help slow down my contractions so I can take a break while we try to wait for the baby to turn. I agree. After the shot I’m able to take a much needed 30 minute break. I take a quick nap and feel much better afterwards.

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My doula and husband use a rebozo to help facilitate the baby so he can turn into the right position.

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Getting through some of the strongest contractions with my husband.

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The support of my husband was absolutely amazing. Doing the hypnobabies course together required us to be open and honest about the whole birthing process. Doing all the training together not only equipped us for our labor time, but also strengthened our bond.

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I remember this moment so clearly. I’m in an inverted position to help the baby get into the right position. There’s mention of transferring to the hospital if the baby does not turn. Flashes of thoughts run through my mind. “everything I worked for the past several months may all go out the window now. I might have c-section. I might not make it.” And at that moment another voice stronger than the last comes in and says,” I can freak out or I can remain calm and trust my midwives who have educated me and been by side the past 6 months. I can give up now or continue up the path I started.” I close my eyes and simply keep working through the affirmations I practiced daily for the past 3 months. “My body is whole and healthy, fully capable of pushing this baby out in perfect health. I am feeling calm and at peace. The powerful birthing waves help bring the baby closer to me. My body knows just what to do”

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After the brilliant suggestion by my midwife, I brush my teeth in between contractions. I take a moment to re-energize and take in this wondrous moment. I tell my husband, “I can’t believe our baby will be here soon.”

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The contractions are getting extremely powerful. Through some of the most intense moments we share a kiss. I learned this helps loosen the body and relieve tension. I can attest to this special power a kiss holds.

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I’m on my hands and knees because this position feels most comfortable. Gravity seems to be helping his body come down and my contractions paired with pushing feel most effective in this position. In addition, the midwife says the baby’s heart beat seems to be best in this position in my situation. I push for about an hour in this position. The midwife feels the baby’s head. I push and push and push…but it feels like I’m trying to finish a race but have no idea where the end is. His head comes out, goes in, comes out, goes in. I ask my husband and everyone around to tell me I can do this. Everyone begins to say, ” you can do this, Mindy!”

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Holding my husband as I push my baby out. It’s a scary moment because I’m pushing quite hard, but I also don’t want to push too hard for fear of tearing. I eventually realize I can’t be afraid of tearing. I continue to keep pushing with all my might at a certain point.

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My face is in anguish here, but I was honestly not feeling the worst pain ever or anything. There was a ton of pressure and a lot going on. I was certainly grunting, but it wasn’t painful. There was just a lot of pressure and a part of me was just a bit fearful of tearing.

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I cast my fears aside. With one great push his head was out. Then another great push and his body slid on out. What a moment of relief and wonder as I peer over and see this new life in front of me.

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I’m in a daze now. My husband cuts the umbilical cord. All I can do is stare at this baby and think, “who is this? this is my baby!”

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Our midwife showing us my placenta. She explains that now that the placenta is out of my stomach, I have a wound that large that needs to heal.

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Sweet first moments of life.

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Weighing Codan Daniel Kim. He is. 9 pounds, 5 ounces. I cry for the first time after hearing his weight. The gravity of what just happened hits me. I can’t believe I pushed him out.

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My husband, holding up the scale.

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Daddy putting on baby’s first diaper.

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Father and son.

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Skin to skin time while I take my first shower.

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Our precious son, born 12:47pm on February 7th, 2014.

 

I had only a 1st degree tear when I’m naturally 112 lbs and 5′ 4″. My baby was 9lb 5oz! I believe I hardly had any damage because I was able to take my time and push gently, breathing my baby out in a squatting position.

There was no screaming. There was no pain. Just  intensity and pressure. My birthing time was absolutely empowering, intimate, and wondrous. It will forever be an experience that helps shape me as a mother.


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